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Zell: I Have Been Contacted By FBI

Appearing on CNBC moments ago, Tribune chief executive Sam Zell -- who is indirectly referred to in the government's criminal complaint against Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) -- said that he has been contacted by the FBI but wouldn't give details.

In the criminal complaint alleging that the governor essentially tried to sell President-elect Barack Obama's Illinois Senate seat, it is stated that Zell's Tribune company approached the governor's office to ask if the state would be interested in helping with Tribune's efforts to sell the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, which it owns.

The complaint said the governor's office might be interested in helping Tribune if Trib ownership would rein in a Tribune editorial writer who'd been hammering the governor. Trib ownership is quoted as being "sensitive" to the issue, the complaint said.

On CNBC, Zell said as far as he knew, no pressure was ever applied to the writer, John McCormick.

Zell was asked if he regretted engineering Tribune's going-private deal a year ago, now that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

"My head only functions looking forward, I'm not really good at looking behind," Zell said. "Consequently, I don't tend to reminisce or self-mutilate myself as a result of past decisions. I made the decision and when I made it I thought it was an appropriate investment at the time. Obviously, circumstances have proven the opposite, but this too shall pass."

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 10, 2008; 3:39 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Sam Zell, Tribune  
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